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Constitutional (germline) MLH1 epimutation as an aetiological mechanism for hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer

Constitutional (germline) MLH1 epimutation as an aetiological mechanism for hereditary... Hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC) is an autosomal dominant syndrome characterised by a predisposition to early onset colorectal, endometrial and other cancers. The tumours typically exhibit microsatellite instability due to defective mismatch repair. HNPCC is classically caused by heterozygous loss-of-function mutations within the mismatch repair genes MLH1, MSH2, MSH6 and PMS2, but no pathogenic mutations are identified in a third of cases. In recent years, constitutional epimutations of the MLH1 gene, characterised by soma-wide allele specific promoter methylation and transcriptional silencing, have been identified in a handful of mutation negative HNPCC cases. In contrast to genetic mutations, MLH1 epimutations are reversible between generations and thus display non-Mendelian inheritance. This review focuses on the aetiological role of constitutional MLH1 epimutations in the development of HNPCC related cancers. The molecular characteristics, clinical ramifications and potential mechanism underlying this defect are discussed. Recommendations for the selection of cases warranting screening for MLH1 epimutations are proffered. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Medical Genetics British Medical Journal

Constitutional (germline) MLH1 epimutation as an aetiological mechanism for hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer

Journal of Medical Genetics , Volume 46 (12) – Dec 29, 2009

Constitutional (germline) MLH1 epimutation as an aetiological mechanism for hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer

Journal of Medical Genetics , Volume 46 (12) – Dec 29, 2009

Abstract

Hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC) is an autosomal dominant syndrome characterised by a predisposition to early onset colorectal, endometrial and other cancers. The tumours typically exhibit microsatellite instability due to defective mismatch repair. HNPCC is classically caused by heterozygous loss-of-function mutations within the mismatch repair genes MLH1, MSH2, MSH6 and PMS2, but no pathogenic mutations are identified in a third of cases. In recent years, constitutional epimutations of the MLH1 gene, characterised by soma-wide allele specific promoter methylation and transcriptional silencing, have been identified in a handful of mutation negative HNPCC cases. In contrast to genetic mutations, MLH1 epimutations are reversible between generations and thus display non-Mendelian inheritance. This review focuses on the aetiological role of constitutional MLH1 epimutations in the development of HNPCC related cancers. The molecular characteristics, clinical ramifications and potential mechanism underlying this defect are discussed. Recommendations for the selection of cases warranting screening for MLH1 epimutations are proffered.

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References (68)

Publisher
British Medical Journal
Copyright
BMJ Publishing Group Ltd. All rights reserved.
ISSN
0022-2593
eISSN
1468-6244
DOI
10.1136/jmg.2009.068122
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC) is an autosomal dominant syndrome characterised by a predisposition to early onset colorectal, endometrial and other cancers. The tumours typically exhibit microsatellite instability due to defective mismatch repair. HNPCC is classically caused by heterozygous loss-of-function mutations within the mismatch repair genes MLH1, MSH2, MSH6 and PMS2, but no pathogenic mutations are identified in a third of cases. In recent years, constitutional epimutations of the MLH1 gene, characterised by soma-wide allele specific promoter methylation and transcriptional silencing, have been identified in a handful of mutation negative HNPCC cases. In contrast to genetic mutations, MLH1 epimutations are reversible between generations and thus display non-Mendelian inheritance. This review focuses on the aetiological role of constitutional MLH1 epimutations in the development of HNPCC related cancers. The molecular characteristics, clinical ramifications and potential mechanism underlying this defect are discussed. Recommendations for the selection of cases warranting screening for MLH1 epimutations are proffered.

Journal

Journal of Medical GeneticsBritish Medical Journal

Published: Dec 29, 2009

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